BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis watched the inauguration of President Bush on television Friday and sent his rival a congratulatory telegram, but he conceded: "I'd like to be the guy who's taking the oath of office today."
The unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate made note of his one bond with Bush, who was born in Milton, Mass., in a telegram sent after the Washington swearing-in of the man who defeated him in the Nov. 8 general election.
"From one native of Norfolk County, Mass., to another, please let me extend my congratulations on becoming the President of the United States," Dukakis said. "I watched with a pride shared by millions of our fellow Americans in this wonderful system of ours and in the peaceful, orderly transition of power and change of leadership that occurred on the steps of the Capitol."
Dukakis carried a bag lunch to a gathering of his senior staff because his own Statehouse office lacks a television set.
Earlier, Dukakis met with a political science class at Boston Latin School to reflect on the campaign and answer questions.
"He was very poised," said Ian Stern, 18. "He said, 'I'd like to be there. I don't want to lie, but I have to accept it.' "
"I'd be less than candid if I didn't say I'd like to be the guy who's taking the oath of office today," Dukakis acknowledged later. "But one of the great things about the system is you have an election and fight hard, but when it's over we accept the results. . . . "